After spending three extremely successful decades in the modeling industry, it only makes sense that Cindy Crawford would be in a prime position to raise part of a new generation of grounded and professional models. In her cover interview for the May 2018 issue of Town & Country, the supermodel opens up about how she's grooming 18-year-old son Presley Gerber and 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber to, hopefully, have the same astounding longevity that she's experienced.
The most important thing, according to Crawford, was teaching her kids to be good, hardworking people—which, she said, wasn't actually that hard to do. "Kids don't always listen, but they are always watching what you do. If you're polite to people, they learn to be polite. If you make family time a priority, they don't even question spending time together. If I'm constantly berating myself in front of them—I look old, I have more wrinkles every year, I can't have that dessert because I'll get fat—then they learn to do the same thing," Crawford, 52, said. "You lead by example."
It also helps that the Gerbers get to walk in their mom's sterling legacy, a factor that, Crawford noted, will hopefully protect them from what can be a very predatory industry. "I'm really lucky, because I don't have a #MeToo story," she said. "As far as being a mother of two young people going into fashion, of course I worry. But let's be honest. My kids are blessed in that business because they aren't coming in as unknowns. People know that I will come after them if they mess with my kids." She added, "Look, I've done nude photos, lots. The only ones I regretted were the ones that I kind of got talked into. I don't want my children to ever look back and think, 'Gosh, I wish I hadn't done that.' I want to empower them to just say, 'I'm outta here.'"
And until they've reached that point themselves, Crawford, ever the protective mama bear, is keeping a close eye on their careers. "They have agents, but I would say for the first year, for sure, everything was 100 percent through me," she said. "Eventually, I want to empower them to be in charge of their own careers, but they're not ready for that yet. Right now they're mostly, 'Mom, just tell me what to do.' Mom, as you might imagine, is fine with that." Crawford also keeps a close eye on her kids' actual whereabouts: "I can only go, like, a week without seeing [Kaia]. But we talk every day, at least, and text," she said of her mini-me daughter. "If she doesn't text me back within 15 minutes, I do one in all caps and a lot of exclamation points. Just respond, okay? Or else I'm going to track you through your Uber account."
For the most part, though, Crawford said she's letting her kids find their own footing as people and, of course, as models. "I don't really think that you can teach how to model," she said. "It needs to come from within. But like, with Kaia when she was little, about seven years old, she would play dress-up in Mom's clothes, and I would do her hair and makeup and we would play photoshoot or runway show. I would be shooting the pictures, and I'd be like, 'No, put your chin up,' or 'Hold your arm out like that.' Probably, a little of it stuck."
Crawford continued, "I think my only specific advice to her with the runway shows was just, like, personally, I don't like seeing a girl with dead eyes and no expression walking down a runway. I don't think it's interesting. Yes, I know that's what's in style now. But I said I feel as if people want to see a personality. It's not appropriate for every show, but I think that Kaia has found those little places. Like with the Anna Sui show she just did. Even though no one else was doing turns, all of a sudden she threw one in."